Book//mark – The Hour of the Star | Clarice Lispector, 1977

The Hour of the Star, 1977 /  First edition (Portuguese)               Clarice Lispector, 1920-1977

“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born.”

“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?”

“First of all, I must make it clear that this girl does not know herself apart from the fact that she goes on living aimlessly. Were she foolish enough to ask herself ‘Who am I?’, she would fall flat on her face. For the question ‘Who am I?’ creates a need. And how does one satisfy that need? To probe oneself is to recognize that one is incomplete.”

“She believed in angels, and, because she believed, they existed”

“There are those who have. And there are those who have not. It’s very simple: the girl had not.
Hadn’t what? Simply this: she had not. If you get my meaning that’s fine. If you don’t, it’s still fine.”

“She wasn’t crying because of the life she led: because, never having led any other, she’d accepted that with her that was just the way things were. But I also think she was crying because, through the music, she might have guessed there were other ways of feeling.”

“She was incompetent. Incompetent for life. She had never figured out how to figure things out.
She was only vaguely beginning to know the kind of absence she had of herself inside her.”

“And even sadness was also something for rich people, for people who could afford it,
for people who didn’t have anything better to do. Sadness was a luxury.”

“She had what’s known as inner life and didn’t know it. She lived off herself as if eating her own entrails. When she went to work she looked like a gentle lunatic because as the bus went along she daydreamed in loud and dazzling dreams. These dreams, because of all that interiority, were empty because they lacked the essential nucelus of⁠—of ecstasy, let’s say. Most of the time she had without realizing it the void that fills the souls of the saints. Was she a saint? So it seems. She didn’t know what she was meditating because she didn’t know what the word meant. But it seems to me that her life was a long meditation on the nothing. Except she needed others in order to believe in herself, otherwise she’d get lost in the successive and round emptiness inside her. She meditated while she was typing and that’s why she made even more mistakes.”

“Things were somehow so good that they were in danger of becoming very bad
because what is fully mature is very close to rotting”

“Do not mourn the dead. They know what they are doing.”

“I cannot stand repetition: routine divides me from potential novelties within my reach.”

“I am only true when I’m alone.”

“I am not an intellectual, I write with my body. And what I write is a moist fog.”

“I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort”

“So long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing.”

“No it is not easy to write. It is as hard as breaking rocks.
Sparks and splinters fly like shattered steel.”

“I write because I have nothing better to do in this world: I am superfluous and last in the world
of men. I write because I am desperate and weary. I can no longer bear the routine of my
existence and, were it not for the constant novelty of writing, I should die symbolically
each day.”

“I ask myself: is every story that has ever been written in this world,
a story of suffering and affliction?”

“Do not be frightened. Death is instantaneous and passes in a flash. I know,
for I have just died with the girl. Forgive my dying. It was unavoidable.”

“But don’t forget, in the meantime, that this is the season for strawberries. Yes.”

Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star, 1977


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